Laughlin Buzz

Sep 21, 2013

Pioneer Casino: Light up River Rick!

Laughlin, Nevada - Pioneer Casino

After hearing many people complain about burned out lighting on the iconic River Rick sign we walked past recently to check it out.

River Rick is the name of the neon sign that resembles a cowboy.  He was erected at the Pioneer Hotel & Gambling Hall in 1981 and resembles his "brother" Vegas Vic.  Vic is located on Fremont St. in Las Vegas.

River Rick and Vegas Vic comparison
(from Wikipedia)

As we had heard the sign looks terrible at night.  Without the lights during the day it looks fine.


On the Laughlin skyline River Rick it is one of the most noticeable attractions, both from the River and the Casino Drive Strip itself.  

On our recent visit (mid September 2013) over half the lights on on side of the cowboy were dark. The face looks like it is stuck in a grotesque distortion due to the burned out bulbs.   In addition, burned out lights that should say  HOTEL AND GAMBLING HALL now read  HO BLING.  Not a very good message for visitors to see.

The other side of the sign is lit up slighly more, but from a distance the silhouette wouldn't look as it should. On this side the place is called a HOTEL AMBLI HALL. 

This state of despair, in this writers opinion, shows a lack of pride and management.  Certainly it is no way to present a first image and impression of your Hotel and Casino.  Visitors seeing the burnt out sign may wonder about the quality of the rest of the property.   That topic will be saved for another post.  

 The tallest sign in Laughlin is also the Pioneer Casino sign just off of Casino Drive  This too needs maintenance on the lights.   One side is fine.  It is all lit up and features various scrolling messages under the word PIONEER.

The other side of the same sign though has burned out letters.  This looks terrible and speaks to the priorities and management of the property -or- perhaps the financial situation of the owners. 

In general the Pioneer seems to keep their section of the Riverwalk in pretty good shape.  Well groomed, landscaped, large lights lining it all work, and clean.  They even have periodically stained the wood rails.  The clock is apparently broken though and displays the wrong time. 

Sometimes it is attention to details that count.  Prompt attention.  For instance a sign that is placed at the entrance to their section of the Riverwalk (just past the Colorado Belle) has been torn and hanging for a couple weeks.   No one can fix or take this down?

The Pionerr Hotel and Casino was purchased in 2004 by its current owner Archon Corporation. See their stock performance here

We implore them to take pride in the area.  Restore River Rick and their signage with some new bulbs or repairs.  Help improve the visual aspect of the Laughlin Riverwalk, Casino Drive, and even your Hotel. 

Older posts about the Pioneer Casino:

Fire outside the Pioneer

Pioneer Breakfast Buffet Review

Owner of Pioneer Casino, Archon Corp gets a bid from Esplanade Capital LLC for $107 million


  1. Press the owners for information on why this isn't being corrected.

    Clark County should take issue with this. Is there an ordinance on the books in regards to signage maintenance?

    Don Jr.

  2. The face looks like it is stuck in a grotesque distortion due to the burned out bulbs. In addition, burned out lights that should say HOTEL AND GAMBLING HALL now read HO BLING. Not a very good message for visitors to see.

  3. There is also a cowboy like these in West Wendover